Last year: 7-9, last place in NFC West
Acquisitions: Kenny Britt, Greg Robninson, Aaron Donald, Shaun Hill, Michael Sam
Departures: Cortland Finnegan, Kellen Clemens, Chris Williams, Matt Giordano
Vegas 2014 win total over/under: 7.5 wins
— NewsOne (@newsone) August 18, 2014
Five ways the Rams can pay tribute to the events in Ferguson:
— Implore fans to dedicate a silent moment of contemplating baseball to honor Ferguson.
— When the offense falters, bring in the Highway Patrol.
— Per the British CNN anchor’s suggestion, use water cannons on opposing teams.
— Detain visiting journalists covering the game.
— Wear a Michael Brown uniform patch. Just kidding, they would never dare.
Fan forecast by Ryan Van Bibber:
It’s easy to for the rest of the NFL world to laugh at Jeff Fisher. His commitment to Blades-style sunglasses and Gregg Williams, fealty to The Shield, and an undying loyalty for doing things the 1985 Bears way makes him a little anachronistic in this golden age of football nerds like Chip Kelly and Marc Trestman revolutionizing pro football with a focus on offensive innovation … BORING.
For the St. Louis Rams, Fisher might as well be Vince Lombardi. Owner Stan Kroenke needed a name to breathe some life into his investment, er, football team, and nobody can turn a 2-14 squad into a solid 7-9 team like the mustachioed one.
This year’s Rams team might be one of the most talented squads they’ve had on the field in a decade. Most of that talent is concentrated on the defensive line. Robert Quinn and Chris Long bookend what might be the deepest group in the NFC West, which naturally means the deepest group in all of pro football. Things start to get questionable behind them. Williams is going to have to put together his best PowerPoint yet to get the secondary and the linebackers squared away.
But let’s talk about the offense, because that’s what really separates the Rams from the rest of the teams in the division.
As part of the team’s commitment to improving, they one-upped Dan Snyder and hired two team bloggers and bought out (unofficially) the city’s largest sports talk radio station to tell us how amazing Kenny Britt is going to be this year. No NFL player has ever made a slam dunk HOF case in training camp as this group, at least that’s what I’ve been told through official channels. It’s worth reminding you at this point that the front office compared Brian Quick to Terrell Owens.
The 12th Man ain’t got nothing on the Rams’ hubris.
That’s not really the problem, not even quarterback Sam Bradford, the cardboard cutout of Kerry Collins they’re paying $76 million to execute elite check downs. Two-thirds of the offensive line will be on injured reserve by Dec. 1, but even that’s not the biggest problem the Rams have.
The biggest problem for the Rams is offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, the poster boy for Peter King’s version of the NFL as America’s ultimate meritocracy. His offensive playbook has thoroughly confused Tavon Austin — ok, that’s not really hard to do — which features six eligible receivers running a complex web of short crosses, hitches and slants that he probably envisioned during a marathon night of bong hits and Three Stooges VHS tapes his dad gave him to stay the fuck out of the way.
Weirdly enough, Fisher, who fetishizes ball control, might be the one who can keep his OC from totally screwing things up by telling him just to run the damn ball with Zac Stacy … which is exactly what happened last season and kind of worked.
All of this sounds really negative, and I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon blocking heels in my timeline convinced that the Rams are going to the Super Bowl this year. This includes the roughly five percent of the local population that actually cares more about the Rams than the Cardinals (BEST FANS IN BASEBALL) and a bunch of people from L.A., the city that this team really belongs to if it hadn’t been owned for a time by a caricature of a bad sports owner, who got the city and county of St. Louis to spend millions on the team every year instead of local schools or firemen or, you know, training area police officers not to be murderers.
Everyone’s going to ask why I hate the Rams so much. And the sad answer is that I don’t. Why would anyone spend every day since 2006 writing about a team whose most exciting season since then includes Scott Linehan? In a sad way, I think it’s more fun to love a shitty team. At least it gives you a healthy place to put your pathos. Plus, at this point, I’m honestly a little scared of winning, unfamiliar territory and all that.
So, I’ll predict that the Rams finish 8-8 because they play in the NFC West and the pieces just aren’t there yet for Fisher to stumble into one of his 10-6 seasons.